The Last Leaf
Cast: Ranveer Singh, Sonakshi Sinha
Director: Vikramaditya Motawane
Silence is not loved in our cinema. It is hated, yawned upon. It’s hard for me to name our films that use it effectively. Same is the pace. Why it can’t be similar to its setting? As life unfolds in rural post independence era where an old Zamindar in denial of impending government bill that will abolish princely privileges, living with an asthmatic daughter and putting her to bed with stories of old folklore. Daughter is almost pampered to fault with big stereotyped-wide-kohl-Bengoli-eyed girl. Out of Shantiniketan, aspiring to be a writer. What excitement can you expect in such dwellings?
There is of course gonna be one but we don’t suspect when first see him. A tall dark stranger archaeologist walks into this scene. He is sleek, well-dressed, waxed hair combed backwards. A smile mostly with curled lower lip to win your trust and before you know it is your confidante. Who possess knowledge of poetry, old heritage. He of course moves in from a sarkaari guest house to old man’s mansion and enjoy the sessions of whiskey and his recent brush with loss of power and pelf. There is a love story alright filmmaker wants to tell. Boy and girl meet, fall in love and want to spend life together. How does that happen? She runs him over with her driving skills, he bluffs his way to be her art teacher only to be taught by her. She waits for him to show up at painting class. She holds his hand to stroke pencil a right curve. They talk in hushed tones. She looks knowingly, invitingly at his lips. He holds back. Why? Does he have a secret? Still, love blossoms and blossoms with what lyrical quality, and consummates in that sublime shadow sequence, like a flame dancing, burning, throbbing, having her way with breeze. Gentle. Strong.
Film’s pulse as you know by now is not hurried but for lack of better word let me steal it is in thehraav. Setting shifts from that rural princely state of Manikpur West Bengal to winter snow-covered cottage of Dalhousie. A broken, damaged soul and an ailing body looks emptily at a dying tree shedding its leaves from this cottage. Her world is going to be rattled again. Movie is – don’t be mistaken a thriller in part and a very, very well executed one. Surprisingly the protagonist of the story is the girl. We witness her story not his. Her heart ache is real. So does his. It’s old-fashioned tale of love and simmering romance. It’s ravishing, breathtaking, heart-wrenching, tragic and eventually fulfilling. It is its quiet intensity that had me and here to stay with me. Wondrous to behold.
* Bad **Average *** Good ****Very Good ***** Outstanding